Sometimes in my patch from time to time I find myself facing a bit of a challenge with bug infestations. Having a decent size veggie patch(that I sometimes struggle to fully maintain) is a real joy but can sometimes cause major problems with pesky destructive bugs, beetles, slugs and grubs.
On this occasion it’s the Harlequin beetles, we have always had these little creatures around the place but this year I must have unwittingly created the perfect condition for them as l have them everywhere. They have been very destructive in my veggie patch, with my tomatoes crop the worst hit but they also seem to enjoy the corns, beetroot, chard and even the cat mint hedge l planted along the front of the patch.
The Friendly Advice
I have done a lot of reading, searching and talking to my local nurseryman to find a solution for my problem. One of the biggest things spraying my veggies with any type of chemical as this is never an option around the foods we are growing to eat so l was looking for a more environmentally friendly solution. Not always easy but well worth the effort and piece of mind.
Dishwashing detergent mixed with water seems to be a big winner with many gardeners, I did read somewhere to collect up about 100 or so beetles and place them in a small bucket of boiling water leave for a day or two them drain the beetles away and spray your plants with the liquid. Apparently this is very effective but the though of pouring boiling water onto even the enemy bucket seems a bit mean so l think l will stick with the soapy water for now.
Here are some great advice and tips l have picked up to get me started
- Removing any weeds or overgrown patches of garden as they love having hiding places
- Removing any rotten wood such as old garden beds etc.
- Planting some good bug plants such as dill, fennel, sage, mustard, mizuna, salvias and cosmos these and many more are always a great benefit to introduce some new predators combating some of the more destructive pests.
- Removing as many beetles from the garden either by spending some time with a bucket full of soapy water collecting all the beetles or making up a mix of soapy water in a spray bottle and spray them directly on the plants.
- Always keep on top of these pests before they get out of control.
Hopefully the Solution!!
As this is the time of the year when it start to get cold and these little beasts hide away in my compost piles and weed patches. I plan on removing as many as l can before they all go the ground. Major work needs it be done with weeds reduction and general clean-up of the patch so most of the patch has been put into maintenance mode. This has already started on the past weekend where l relocated and transplanted my herb garden.
So here’s the plan:
- Start by removing all the overgrowth, weeds and give to whole patch and effected area a good clean-up
- All the old recycled wood l originally used in the garden is starting to rot so I’m removing the old to replacing with concrete blocks(these are strong and permanent)
- Plants some new plants around the garden to invite some new healthy bug populations
Hopefully this will make a big difference, but l will be spending a lot of time with my spray bottle full of soapy water to combat any l find hiding out. Finger crossed for a great result.
If you would like more information about the Harlequin beetle I found a great post by a blogger gippslandgardener I really did get a lot out of this post. It’s really is worth a read. Thanks so much GippslandGardener for sharing:)
If anyone has any advice for me on my beetle fiasco l would love to hear from you, I’m looking forward to the challenges ahead and hope you come back to check out my progress.
Next bug post will be a good bug post as l think we need to keep talking about them all the good, the bad and the evil:)
Have a great day